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Ukraine urges Johnson to ensure ‘not a drop’ of Russian oil reaches the UK

The Telegraph

Ukraine urges Johnson to ensure ‘not a drop’ of Russian oil reaches the UK

Shell, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, has pledged to withdraw from Russian oil products, but…

Ukraine’s government has urged the UK to ensure “not a single drop of Russian oil enters the country”, as it pushed for a “total and immediate” boycott on Russian fossil fuels.

Oleg Ustenko, economic adviser to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said it was “no time for half measures”. It comes amid concerns Britain may adopt a definition of Russian oil that allows some Kremlin supplies into the country, even under the impending embargo.

The UK Government is banning Russian oil imports to try and limit inadvertently aiding Putin’s war effort, giving UK buyers until the end of the year to adapt before the policy comes into force.

However Whitehall says it is still working with industry to “develop a clear definition of what constitutes Russian oil,” raising concerns that products containing some molecules from the country’s produce might still be allowed through.

Diesel and other refined oil products can contain a mix of supplies from several countries under long-standing industry practice or because they have been stored in mixed tanks.

There are also concerns that oil from Russia is increasingly being mixed with supplies from other countries to obscure its origin, as traders try to keep energy supplies flowing while avoiding criticism for aiding the Kremlin.

In a statement to the Telegraph, Mr Ustenko said: “We would welcome the UK engaging with Ukraine on how they define Russian oil – after all it’s our people being killed with the proceeds.

“For us, every drop of Russian oil is Blood Oil. For the UK to really stand alongside Ukrainians, we need to see a total – and immediate – boycott on Russian fossil fuels.

“Russia will always seek to find loopholes in whatever sanctions and policies the UK puts in place. This is no time for half-measures.

“The only way to avoid customers in Britain inadvertently helping Putin is to ensure not a single drop of Russian oil enters the country or is traded by UK-based companies.”

Shell, one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies, has pledged to withdraw from Russian oil products, but defines refined versions, such as diesel, as not being of Russian origin if less than 50pc of the blend is from the country.

The UK typically gets about 8pc of its oil from Moscow, almost all in the form of refined products diesel and jet fuel. Disruption to diesel markets amid the war has forced up UK diesel prices to an average 176.11p as of Sunday.

While Britain’s embargo is impending, the EU is still debating whether to ban Russian oil imports amid concerns over the impact on its own economy. Both the UK and the EU have also not yet banned imports of natural gas from Russia.

The UK gets less than 4pc of its gas directly from Russia but is connected to EU markets which are heavily reliant. Gas was flowing normally to Europe via Ukraine as of Sunday, Gazprom said.

Dominic Kavakeb, senior adviser at the campaign group Global Witness, said: “Every drop of oil we import from Russia is of direct benefit to Putin’s barbaric crimes against Ukraine.

“What is needed has been obvious since even before Ukraine was invaded; a full embargo on Russian oil – including blended oil – and gas that has given Putin both the resources and power to enact his bloody designs.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We remain absolutely committed to phasing out imports of Russian oil by the end of the year.

“We continue to work with industry to develop a clear definition of what constitutes Russian oil, one that will continue to provide an economic blow to the Putin regime.

“This will ensure industry have a clear understanding of what they can and cannot import.”

The UK Petroleum Industry Association, which represents filling stations, refiners and others involved in fuel supply, declined to comment.


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